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ECB ups inflation forecasts, cuts 2018 growth outlook

The European Central Bank cut its outlook for GDP growth for 2018, but boosted its inflation outlook, reflecting a combination of risks of increased protectionism and higher oil prices.

The ECB's staff now see annual real GDP increasing by 2.1% in 2018, 1.9% in 2019 and 1.7% in 2020, ECB President Mario Draghi told a news conference after announcing that the bank intended to end its quantitative easing program after December. The growth estimates for 2019 and 2020 were unchanged. The ECB staff in March projected annual real GDP to grow by 2.4% in 2018.

Eurozone inflation should be 1.7% in 2018 and the subsequent two years, marking a boost for 2018 and 2019 due to more expensive crude, he said. In March, Eurozone inflation was seen at 1.4% in 2018 and 2019.

"The risks surrounding the euro area growth outlook remain broadly balanced. Nevertheless, uncertainties related to global factors, including the threat of increased protectionism, have become more prominent," Draghi said. "Moreover, the risk of persistent heightened financial market volatility warrants monitoring."

The euro traded 1% lower against the dollar as of 9:20 a.m. ET.